Not even a childhood of financial hardship could stop Derek Grima CPA from dreaming big.
With a family of seven under one roof, Derek admits it was often hard for his mother to make ends meet and put food on the table.
“We lived off the Salvation Army clothes for quite a few years, but it was fine - it made me who I am today,’’ says Derek Grima CPA.
It also put the fire in Derek’s belly to succeed. He dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur with multiple offices around the country – a dream he’s now well on his way to achieving.
Want to become an entrepreneur? Watch this video to get a few tips.
After completing a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ballarat, and a Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) at Kaplan University, Derek scored roles at McCain Food, MDS Accounting and Financial Planning, and Circuit Finance Aust. Ltd.
But, as an extremely driven self-starter, he never lost sight of his long-term goal.
With that in mind, he became his own boss earlier this year when he opened his accounting firm BeFinancial in his hometown of Ballarat in Victoria.
“I had reached the peak of my career on wages, so (financially) starting my own business was like taking a good three or four steps back… but I know it was the right decision to make.”
“I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, I’m working really long hours to get the business off the ground, but I’m getting a new business client every week, so there’s really good growth potential.’’
The 31-year-old is aiming for something a whole lot bigger than just your average small business success because ultimately he wants to “have a presence all over Victoria”.
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As for his humble beginnings, he believes anything is possible if you back yourself and have the drive and commitment to be successful.
“I went to a government school that had a really bad reputation, so I supposed a lot of kids would have thought they couldn’t really be successful in that sort of situation.’’
But, if you make the decision to avoid bad influences, stay out of trouble, and head to the library and study, you can achieve great results anywhere.
Derek, who was awarded the CPA designation in 2010 and the Public Practice Certificate in 2016, says earning the qualifications are two of the biggest highlights of his accounting career.
He believes becoming a CPA has given him higher status as an employee and an edge in the job market.
Derek Grima CPA’s top tips for graduates starting their careers:
- Dream big and work hard
- A well balanced diet, regular exercise and a mental health program will help condition your body for the mental and physical stresses of corporate life
- Being passionate and optimistic about your business keeps customers happy and coming back for more